Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who Do I Write Like?

OK. This is the gizmo making the rounds at the moment. The Significant Other (who's writing for Playboy at the moment) entered part of the article and it reported back, "James Joyce." Oh yeah? I can do that, I thought. Let's find out.

Actually I pride myself on using a variety of styles, so prima facie proof of success would be if it produced different models for different pieces. My two stories in Antigonish Review? Dan Brown and Stephen King. Ouch. But then three pieces in the late lamented Lichen are styled like David Foster Wallace, William Gibson, and Margaret Atwood. That sounds a bit better. My stories in Feathertale produce H. G. Wells and another David Foster Wallace. The H. G. Wells seems unlikely, but then I haven't read any H. G. Wells, so I'll reserve judgment. My story in Grain claims Robert Louis Stevenson as patron. As Borges' favorite English author, I'm not going to fight that.

Pretty good variety, so I guess that proves what I thought about my own writing and maybe suggests the tool isn't entirely hokum. But still no James Joyce. So I tried chapters from the N.I.P. (novel in progress), which is written in a deliberate mix of styles. We get J. K. Rowling, Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, and Margaret Mitchell (!) plus some more David Foster Wallace. Have I got your attention yet?

But still no James Joyce.